South African Harding grabs Masters lead as Tiger begins

World golf legend Tiger Woods. (Reuters pic)

AUGUSTA: Tiger Woods teed off Thursday morning in the opening round of the 83rd Masters with South African Justin Harding alone atop the leaderboard at 2-under par at Augusta National.

Woods, a 14-time major champion in quest of his fifth green jacket, blasted his opening shot 317 yards into the fairway while playing alongside Spain’s Jon Rahm and China’s Li Haotong.

Harding, 33, was among the last players to qualify for the Masters, reaching the world rankings top 50 after a win at Qatar and runner-up effort in Kenya last month in European Tour events.

Harding opened with a birdie and added another at the third. He took a bogey at the fifth but answered with a birdie at the par-3 sixth.

Among those on the course at 1-under were Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya and Norwegian amateur Viktor Hovland as well as Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard.